When my brother and I were young, we would often spend much of the summer with my grandparents. During those hot, boring days back in the 1970’s and 1980’s, we would make the long trek to the local 7-Eleven to play Pac-Man and eat candy. It was on one of these sweaty trips that my brother, looking for batteries for our small radio, asked the clerk, “Where are your batteries?” One of our friends that had accompanied us certainly laughed about that statement, teasing my brother that it sounded as though he were asking the clerk if she were a robot with batteries in her back.
Silly, I know. For some reason, that day came back to me this morning and brought a smile to my face. The fact that the fun of that day doesn’t quite translate to others definitely proves a certain point that I encountered in an article so long ago—when you lose a sibling, your history is gone. There is no one to share those jokes and hysterical moments from your childhood, no one who can share that smile with you. While the loss of a parent makes you an adult, the death of a sibling robs you of someone who truly understands all of your stories.
My brother died in 1995, quite a long time ago. I still think of all those fun times that we had as kids, trying to beat a world’s record by swinging on a swingset or creating a movie with our Star Wars figures. Now, I hold those memories for both of us.
For those of you who still enjoy the company of your own siblings, please learn from this story. Love them while you can and build lots and lots of good memories with them. Share those laughs and knowing smiles with the understanding that one day, that pleasure may be gone.
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” –Helen Keller
With a power outage tonight, light was on the minds of most of the residents of our neighborhood. It is easy to move along in our days, expecting everything to always be ok, to always remain the same. At an unexpected moment, though, the light in our lives can suddenly disappear. Then we are forced to see the possibilities of darkness surrounding us.
Before the outage hit our neighborhood, I saw an old friend tonight while on an evening walk with my husband. She has struggled with scleroderma for several years and is seemingly in the last stages of her disease. Tonight she admitted that she has given up on treatment in order to live whatever life she might have left. Not much older than myself, she could have many years left if not faced with this disease, and yet she lives her life with much more faith and light than I.
She is such a sweet person, and still she faces the encroaching darkness daily with a strength not seen in most people, at least not until they are challenged in some way. As with our power outage tonight, she was forced out of the flow of everyday life some time in the past, only to find her faith in the process. She experiences unimaginable pain each day, but I have never heard her complain. She only asks about others and is concerned for their welfare.
The darkness seems to be spreading in our world, but people like my friend can show us an alternative. When I saw her and heard about the progress of her disease, I grew ashamed at my lack of faith or appreciation for my own state of health. My friend’s faith helps her to see the light of this world and live her life to the fullest, loving each moment, along with her friends and family.
I would ask that you join me in prayer for my friend.
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
It is sometimes a struggle for many of us to even step out of bed in the morning. Whether it is a period of unemployment that never ends, a new diagnosis of a terminal illness, or a chronic mental illness, life often brings us to the point of giving in to defeat. I’m not so sure about the saying that “God doesn’t give us anything that we can’t handle.” I’ve seen plenty of people bear more than they should have to handle, ultimately succumbing to addiction or suicide.
If you were to ask me today how I’m doing, I would probably say, “I’ve had better months.” The upcoming loss of my teaching position has me at a loose end. I seem to be scrambling at writing anything possible online in order to gain some attention for my efforts and hopefully some employment. As I watch for comments and increasing scores–and not seeing either–it seems a futile effort, one that will ultimately bring me nothing.
But I’ve had worse months as well. And on those days when everything seems hopeless, I try to remember that I’ve come through worse times, ones that were filled with illness for myself and family members, along with the deaths of several family members. I’ve survived. And that’s what I’m trying to hang onto right now when the outlook for our future seems so uncertain.